Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Unspoken

Unspoken:  A Story from the Underground Railroad
by Henry Cole
Scholastic, 2012.  Unpaged. Picture Book.

          This lovely, atmospheric picture book is a wordless story of a young girl who finds a runaway slave hiding behind corn shocks in her family's log storage shed. Telling no one, she sneaks food out to the fugitive (whom the reader never sees), and hides in the under-the-stairs closet when paterollers come looking for runaway slaves. When the girl goes back to check, the runaway has gone, but left her, in gratitude, a corn cob doll wearing a dress made from the gingham napkin the food was hidden in. Cole's penciled "narrative" is filled with evocative detail--the Big Dipper in the sky is the drinking gourd the slaves follow to freedom; the grandmother of the family has a knowing look about her, but peels her apples in silence.  All about freedom and helping, Unspoken evokes the worst and best of our nation's history.

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